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January 14, 2005 ED Review
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 January 14, 2005
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NCLB Update
Confirmation Hearing
Technology Plan
E-Rate Funding
School Finance
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events
Loose Ends...

NCLB Update (http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/)

Earlier this week, at J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, Virginia, President Bush outlined his multi-faceted, $1.5 billion initiative to expand the No Child Left Behind Act into high schools. Among the President's proposals:

  • $200 million for schools to use eighth-grade test data to develop individual performance plans for at-risk students entering high school;
  • $250 million for states to develop and administer two more years of reading and math tests in high schools (currently, states are only required to test one year in high school);
  • $200 million for the Striving Readers literacy program, providing grants to schools to help middle and high school students who have fallen behind in reading;
  • $269 million for the Mathematics and Science Partnership program, $120 million of which will be dedicated to improve high school math instruction;
  • over $50 million to expand Advanced Placement programs and $45 million to expand the State Scholars program (four years of English, three years of math and science, and 3.5 years of social studies);
  • enhanced Pell Grants ($1,000 in additional aid for the first two years of college) for students who complete the State Scholars program; and
  • $500 million for a new incentive fund to reward teachers who get results.

For more information, please go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/01/
20050112-5.html
.

Not convinced No Child Left Behind needs to be expanded? According to a new report from the Education Trust—a follow-up to an earlier, much more positive analysis of student achievement at the elementary level—reading and math achievement lags at the middle and high school level, and too many states are not making progress closing achievement gaps. Indeed, examining publicly available, comparable state assessment results, researchers found that only 11 of 20 states improved reading achievement and 14 of 21 states improved math achievement in high school between 2002 and 2004. Moreover, the gap in math achievement between African-American high school students and their white peers remained the same or grew in 10 states, and the Latino-white gap actually grew in 11 states. For more information, please go to http://www2.edtrust.org/EdTrust/Press+Room/
stalled+in+secondary.htm
.

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Confirmation Hearing

On January 6, Secretary of Education-designate Margaret Spellings appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. During the two-hour session, she pledged to listen carefully to the concerns of those implementing the No Child Left Behind Act at the state and local levels and take a "workable and sensible" approach to carrying out the law. "We must listen to states and localities, to parents and reformers, about their experiences with the act," she elaborated. "We must stay true to the sound principles of leaving no child behind, but we in the administration must engage with those closest to children to embed these principles in a sensible and workable way." She also promised to bring a "spirit of bipartisanship" to her job if she wins Senate backing. "The recent enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as well as No Child Left Behind, are proof that education is an area where we can truly come together," she said. "Do we agree on everything? Of course we don't, and we won't. But, if confirmed, I pledge to do all I can on behalf of the president to work with you to continue the spirit of bipartisanship." Later that same day, the committee unanimously approved her nomination, sending it to the full Senate for consideration. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/staff/bios/spellings-nomination.html.

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Technology Plan

Secretary Paige and Susan Patrick, Director of the Office of Educational Technology, recently unveiled the third National Education Technology Plan. The plan—reflecting the recommendations of educators, policymakers, technology specialists, and more than 200,000 students from all 50 states—puts forward seven major action steps:

  • Strengthen Leadership. For public education to benefit from the rapidly evolving development of information and communication technology, leaders at every level (school, district, and state) must not only supervise but provide informed, creative, and ultimately transformative leadership for systematic change.

  • Consider Innovative Budgeting. Needed technology can often be funded through innovative reallocation and restructuring of existing budgets to realize cost savings. The new focus begins with the educational objective and evaluates funding requests in terms of how they support student learning.

  • Improve Teacher Training. Teachers have more resources available through technology than ever before but have not received sufficient training in the effective use of technology to enhance learning. Teachers need access to research, examples, and innovations, as well as staff development to learn best practices.

  • Support E-Learning and Virtual Schools. In the past five years, there has been an explosive growth in organized online instruction, making it possible for students at all levels to receive high quality courses of instruction personalized to their needs. Traditional schools are increasingly turning to these services to expand choices and opportunities for students and professional development for teachers.

  • Encourage Broadband Access. Most public schools have access to high-capacity, high-speed broadband communications. However, access 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year can help students and teachers realize the full potential of this technology.

  • Move Toward Digital Content. A perennial problem for schools, students, and teachers is that textbooks are more and more expensive, quickly outdated, and physically cumbersome. A move away from reliance on textbooks to the use of multimedia or online information offers many advantages.

  • Integrate Data Systems. Integrated, interoperable data systems are the key to better allocation of resources, greater management efficiency, and online assessments of student performance that empower educators to truly transform teaching and personalize instruction.

For more information, please go to http://www.nationaledtechplan.org/.

Note: Speaking of examples, the web site highlights state initiatives and success stories where technology is being used to meet the challenges of education. For more information, please go to http://www.nationaledtechplan.org/stories.asp.

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E-Rate Funding

Schools and libraries have until 11:59 p.m. ET on February 17 to apply for FY 2005 E-Rate funding, which runs from July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006. Applicants qualify for discounts of 20 percent to 90 percent of the cost of eligible products (Internet access, internal connections, and telecommunications services), depending on the number of students they serve eligible for free or reduced-price lunches and whether they are considered urban or rural. For more information, please go to http://www.sl.universalservice.org/.

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School Finance

Education Week's ninth-annual "Quality Counts" report focuses on efforts to link funding to educational outcomes. Well-sourced feature stories discuss, among other themes, the evolution of school finance from "equity" to "adequacy," the weighting of state school finance formulas to provide extra money for students with key characteristics (poverty, fluency in English, disabilities, etc.), and the general lack of agreement on calculating the costs of education. As is true every year, "Quality Counts" also tracks student achievement across the 50 states and the District of Columbia and charts progress on several other facets of states' education systems: standards and accountability, efforts to improve teacher quality, school climate, and, fittingly, key spending indicators. States averaged a C+ across the graded categories, the same as last year. For more information, please go to http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2005/01/06/. (To view the content, you must register. Registration is free.)

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Quote to Note

"Today, we celebrate the third anniversary of the No Child Left Behind Act, a law that, in the words of Education Week, is "taking root" all across America.... [It] has not just taken root. It has borne fruit. Eighty-four percent of the states credit it with improved [student] academic performance. Reading and math test scores are up, with the greatest gains made by those once at greatest risk of being left behind. Programs like Reading First are uniting sound science with greater resources to yield real results. Now, we must take the next step and apply these principles into our high schools."
— Secretary of Education Rod Paige (1/8/05)

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Upcoming Events

The first of seven meetings seeking input and suggestions for developing regulations based on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 is scheduled for January 28 at the University of Delaware's conference center in Newark (John M. Clayton Hall, Room 106). The event, split into sessions of 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., is open to the general public. For more information, contact Dr. Joan Mele-McCarthy at (202) 245-7607.

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Loose Ends...

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Last Modified: 01/13/2009